Kevin Colbert has never shied from wheeling and dealing to move up to grab a player he thought was going to grow into a winner. He did in 2003 and 2006 with Troy Polamalu and Santonio Holmes.
He did it again in 2012 by trading up 10 spots to draft nosetackle Alameda Ta’amu of Washington State in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Ta’amu is a behemoth, standing six for 3 and weighing in at 348 pounds. That’s right, three hundred forty eight pounds.
As Ta’amu is the first nose tackle drafted by the Steelers since they chose Casey Hampton in 2001, speculation will immediately focus on whether or not Ta’amu is now the heir apparent for Casey Hampton.
That’s a tall order to fill, as Big Snack has anchored one of the most successful runs in defensive football in modern history.
Fighting Fourth Round History?
If Kevin Colbert has had the midas touch when it has come to first round picks, his luck in the fourth has been something far more pedestrian.
Larry Foote (2002) and Ike Taylor (2003) came to the Steelers as 4th round picks, and both started in Super Bowls XL and XLIII. Willie Colon also turned out to be another wise 4th round pick in 2006.
But Danny Farmer, Colbert’s first 4th round selection in 2000 got cut in training camp. The story was the same with Fred Gibson in 2005. Mathiad Nkwenti (’01) did little more than carry a clipboard.
Colbert’s luck with fourth round picks hasn’t been helped by Mike Tomlin’s presence, as the two have selected Ryan McBean, Dan Sepulveda, Tony Hills, and Thaddus Gibson.
Cortez Allen, the Steelers 2011 4th round pick, has already bested his predecessors from the Tomlin era, so perhaps Ta’amu can continue the upward trend.
Video Profile of AlamedaTa’amu
Dan Gigler, author of the Post-Gazette’s Blog and Gold, wrote a lengthy profile of Ta’amu, arguing that if the Steelers were patient, Ta’amu could be a late round steal.